Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Houthis Race to Own Property in Sanaa

Houthis Race to Own Property in Sanaa

Friday, 14 August, 2020 - 04:30
FILE PHOTO: A view of the old quarter of Sanaa, Yemen November 14, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi/File Photo

Houthi leaders and commanders in Yemen’s Sanaa have expanded their purchases of a variety of real-estate in the war-torn country’s capital, local sources informed Asharq Al-Awsat.

The purchases are suspected of being a part of a larger money laundering and settlement scheme mounted by the militias.

A new class of leaders and commanders affiliated with the Houthi group have been spearheading a systematic settlement movement, taking advantage of the Houthi control over Sanaa and the group’s plundering of state and private sector funds, well-informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Real-estate agents in Sanaa revealed that Houthi leaders are suspiciously racing to acquire ownership over the largest amounts of villas and land plots whether in the north or south of the capital.

According to agents, Houthis are paying above asking prices to lure landlords into selling.

Sources pointed out that the Houthi group is focusing its real-estate purchases on property located on the outskirts of the capital, especially on the southern, eastern and western fronts. They are also making purchases in the capital’s center.

A Houthi leader, according to a source speaking under the conditions of anonymity, had recently bought a residence in Sanaa for 600 million Yemeni rials (around $1 million). The Houthi commander then demolished the house and began construction on a new building with specific characteristics.

The source, familiar with the commander, said that before the coup, he was too poor to afford gas, but is now one of Sanaa’s richest figures.

Yemeni diplomat Abdel-Wahhab Tawaf has slammed militia leaders and commanders of plundering the money of Yemenis and channeling the stolen funds into buying property to serve the group’s sectarian agenda.

Tawaf exposed one of the Houthi leaders for buying a land plot in Sanaa for $10 million.

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